We've seen our share of devices which instead of being virtual reality headsets themselves, turn a smartphone into something of the sort. The new invention from ETH Zurich student Constantinos Miltiadis is, admittedly, something of the sort, but it is also much more than that.
The new device, called Project Anywhere, is Miltiadis’s way of allowing people to be transferred to a whole new world. Specifically, a virtual world that feels about as real as today's technology can make it.
It will still leave a lot to be desired, but at least the objects on “screen” will respond to what we do with our hands.
Project Anywhere combines the best of virtual reality technology, both hardware and software, with 3D printing. Additive manufacturing as it is otherwise known.
The Project Anywhere VR Headset
The device can house a smartphone and sync with an app to turn the screen into a virtual reality experience, using a pair of lenses.
The application does more than just run video though. It also plays the role of a decentralized network which lets users enter virtual space whenever they wish. More importantly, it can communicate with other users in real time.
Adding to the quality of the experience is the pair of Inteligloves which allow owners to interact with the virtual space when worn on the hands.
Interestingly enough, both the VR headset and the gloves are 3D printed on a typical desktop printer in just a couple of hours.
The gloves have to be made from a special rubber-like PLA filament, though you need to attach flex sensors to them, wirelessly connected to the smartphone so that the dedicated app may have something to work with.
The technical details
It's called Omnitracker, and when synced with the gloves, it can see palm orientation (yaw, roll and pitch) and finger movement (six bend sensor sockets).
An Arduino Mini Pro Xbee radio module, an inertia measuring unit, the six bend sensor sockets, and a LiPo battery to provide everything with power are also included.
Sadly, there is no estimated time of arrival or price yet, since Project Anywhere is still under development.